In our country, there are more than 4,000 informal settlements that together occupy more than 300 km2 of the national territory.
More than 3,000,000 people live today in informal settlements, which accounts for more than 7% of the country's population. Far from being reversed, this situation of vulnerability and informality continues to expand: almost a quarter of all settlements in the country were generated in the last 8 years.
The Argentine Club of Rome - together with several public and private institutions - works from a perspective of inclusion in order to transform this context. To this end, we carry out surveys and diagnostic studies, apply urban acupuncture projects and reconvert key community spaces of the socio-territorial network through the implementation of alternative energies.
Renewable Energies in Informal Settlements of the City of Buenos Aires
The project, developed during 2018 with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), addressed the energy, social and educational impact of the use of renewable energy in community institutions in vulnerable neighborhoods, based on a study in Barrio 31 located in the City of Buenos Aires.
The objective of the diagnosis was to determine the potential for implementing solar thermal energy for sanitary water heating, as well as to identify opportunities for a more efficient use of energy in community kitchens.
By means of a socio-technical diagnosis and a multi-criteria methodology, 31 grassroots organizations were surveyed, of which two were selected: the "Los Pichones" community kitchen and the "Sueños Bajitos" kindergarten, whose characteristics made them stand out for the development of a second stage of the project, which consisted in the installation of two solar thermal equipments with different technologies (one flat plate and one vacuum tube), accompanied by the respective training of the organizations' representatives.
Finally, the process included the development and implementation - currently underway - of an ad-hoc monitoring system to quantify the economic, energy and environmental benefits of the installed equipment, and its comparison in terms of energy efficiency.
Urban Acupuncture in Villa 20, City of Buenos Aires
The project, developed during 2018 in association with the Undersecretariat of Habitat and Inclusion (SSHI) and the Movimiento Agua y Juventud Argentina (Argentine Water and Youth Movement), aimed at the revalorization, revitalization and recovery of the community public space located in Chilavert and Araujo, destined to the dumping of urban solid waste, through the application of the theory of urban ecologism and urban acupuncture.
Through multiple interventions in an existing urban precinct, urban acupuncture seeks to modify the community's representations of what is permissible, desirable and possible, and thus provide points of transformation for a new development trajectory. Modifying the surroundings changes people's perceptions of the place and also their relationships and practices, creating a chain of positive reactions.
The project included the design and implementation of awareness-raising activities and specific interventions through a participatory process. In order to give new meaning to the space, we sought to beautify it by means of a participatory mural, increase its safety by adding a handrail to the existing ramp, promote its appropriation through clean-up and neighborhood awareness-raising activities, and implement an infrastructure project to ensure easy access to the waste container.
From the Argentine Club of Rome we work in projects with systemic approaches in informal settlements in the City of Buenos Aires, developing 3 Urban Biosystems in the last 5 years, in Villa 15, Villa 20, and Villa 21-24.